riccard0's picture

Ascender Corp. Acquired by Monotype Imaging:

Update 10.Nov.2011, (part of) Bitstream (MyFonts included) Acquired by Monotype Imaging:

dezcom's picture

My point, Bill, is that what remains viable is the "Design", not the form of delivery or use.
I might add that Mozart sounds way better on a Klavier or Pianoforte than it does on a MIDI. Type is a whole nother thang, though. Type depends on the quality of rendering of whatever device used--a letterpress or an iPad. The "design" of the font is pretty much the same but the quality of presentation makes a huge difference. Which sucks worse, piss-poor pixel rendering or badly battered lead type bashed into crap paper and over inked?
The human act of performance of music with emotion and feeling is lost in a MIDI. I will take my 1956 Rubinstein recording of Chopin Etudes over any MIDI (or Yanni) playing of the same. ;-)

mjkerpan's picture

To continue the music analogy, just as some musical pieces translate better into new styles of playing (Bach, for example, sounds great whether played by period ensemble, contemporary orchestra, 70s synthesizers or even heavy metal guitar) than others, the same is true with type designs. Some designs work well in just about any sort of printing technology ever invented, while others are tied so closely to the technologies of their given era that they just plain don't work right anywhere else.

Té Rowan's picture

AFAICR, the MIDI standard does allow for various expressions. The NoteOn message, f.ex., is followed by a seven-bit code, 'velocity', which tells how hard the note was hit or how loud it's supposed to be. Can't remember atm if it's or for the MIDI Consortium.

dezcom's picture

Listening to a MIDI play music compared to listening to a good musician is like comparing an inflatable women doll to a real human version--it looks like a duck but you don't give a ...

William Berkson's picture

Only on Typophile :)

Té Rowan's picture

@dez - Oh, I've pottered around with MIDI files enough to know that already. Remains, though, that they are canned expressions, not recordings. If you have a variety of synths or soundfonts, it is even possible to pick the instrument you think responds best to a particular expression. Heh, I've done that a few times with the software synth TiMidity – written scripts and config files to temporarily revoice existing MIDI files. That's the part I like about MIDI files: I'm not just a mindless consumer.

@WB - The place does have a life, after all.

dezcom's picture


My wife is a fine musician and has other musicians around daily. The big difference is that you may be able to get a technical device to mimic a particular performance with some degree of accuracy. You cannot get that system to create a worthwhile performance of its own except by chance. Then comes ensemble performance where musicians respond to each other and make something spectacular happen as a result.

Té Rowan's picture

All of your points are known to me despite me not being a musician, but when one's far away from live performances, the canned stuff, including MIDI performances, will have to do.

All permitting, I'll be at a live do in about a month. I look forward to it, even though I'll be audience and nothing but. With the MIDI stuff I can at least pretend I'm a part of the performing group. Not that I expect anyone to understand that.

hrant's picture

I had bookmarked Typecast to check it out for real, but hoping for a shortcut: how does it work, exactly? There seems to be way too much fluff to wade through on their site to get to the nitty-gritty.


oldnick's picture

I don't know how it works, but Typecast’s webfont utilization is a littl spotty on my machine: the linked page recomposed before my eyes as it loaded…

Té Rowan's picture

I think it's their Javascript.

Edit #1: I looked with two browsers: Firefox 16 and K-Meleon 1.6 (based on Firefox 3.5 or so). FF16 did not show any page flicker. K-Meleon did. IIRC, its Javascript engine is a lot slower than FF16's.

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